After the Charlottesville, Virginia, domestic terror attack, President Trump was excoriated for what he didn't say: His first two statements didn't condemn white supremacist groups after a neo-Nazi fatally rammed a protester with a car.
Today, it's what he did say that drew instant rebukes.
"President Trump just referred to a group of violent white nationalists, supremacists, segregationists, and neo-Nazis as 'very fine people,'" tweeted John Dingell, the 91-year-old former Congressman and WWII veteran from Michigan who went viral after the Charlottesville attack saying "I signed up to fight Nazis 73 years ago and I'll do it again if I have to."
Dingell was referring to the president's afternoon press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, which caused Twitter to go apoplectic within seconds of its start.
It was supposed to be a discussion of domestic infrastructure. Instead it turned into a verbal melee about last weekend's white supremacist rally, organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, which turned fatal. The president returned to his criticism of violence "on many sides." He refused to blame white nationalists and neo-Nazis for the events.
"You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides," he said. "You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of — to them — a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name."
Trump went on to ask why the "alt-left" was not being criticized. At one point, he directly compared members of the Confederacy to George Washington.
"This week is is Robert E. Lee, and this week, Stonewall Jackson," he said of Confederate statues that are allegedly targeted for removal. "Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"
Observers of the president were asking the same question.
Did I see Trump just go openly Nazi apologist? We. Are. In. trouble. He is unfit for the job. He must be removed.— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) August 15, 2017
Some white supremacists again applauded the president's comments and characterizations of their role in the events at Charlottesville.
As if on cue... the former KKK grand wizard is pleased as punch with Trump's self-immolating presser. pic.twitter.com/63WUMQjBQ3— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 15, 2017